Stop dropout! Risk detection and flexible prevention against learners’ drop out

Every sixth young person aged 18 to 24 in EU-27 still leaves school with no more than lower
secondary education and participates in no kind of education or training after this point. Young people who leave school with only lower secondary education are at a disadvantage on the labour market in today’s knowledge-based society. Their personal and social development is in danger of being curtailed and they are at risk of a life of poverty and social exclusion. They are also less likely to participate in lifelong learning than other young people who continue their education and training.

The need to decrease the number of young people at this risk was identified and recognised in 2003 when the (Education) Council set a European reference level (benchmark) in this area for 2010. The same target to reduce early school leaving is also included in the Employment Guidelines (2005/2008) for the revised Lisbon process.

Although the average figures suggest that Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovenia have already reached the European benchmark for 2010 (no more than 10% early school leavers), the situation in the sector of vocational education is still very critical: In Austria, secondary vocational schools have a dropout rate of up to 42 %, and every third apprentice does not finish his or her vocational education. Also, drop out rates are considerably higher at learners with migration background: The dropout risk for second or third migrant generations is two times higher, and for individuals from outside the EU-15 it has quadrupled, in comparison to “native” learners. The same situation is true for Slovenia and the Czech Republic, where especially leaners from the Roma population show several times higher dropout rates.

The figures for Germany are less promising: The average figure is 14 percent, and even higher in the new “Länder”, and also in vocational education sector.

Therefore, a new and holistic approach to reduce dropout rates in the vocational education sector in all these four countries is highly welcome and will contribute to a rediction of dropout rates through early recognition.

Read more: